Beijing, Jan. 14 (Reuters): Chinese media said today that the government had to take urgent action to tackle air pollution, which has blanketed parts of the country at dangerous levels in recent days, and one newspaper called for a re-think of a “fixation” on economic growth.
China’s media is under tight Communist Party control and usually steer clear of controversy, but news organisations are more free to report on pollution, partly because it can’t be hidden from the public.
Air quality in Beijing was far above hazardous levels over the weekend, reaching 755 on an index that measures particulate matter in the air with a diametre of 2.5 micrometers. A level of 300 is considered dangerous while the World Health Organisation recommends a daily level of no more than 20.
“How can we get out of this suffocating siege of pollution?” the People’s Daily, the official newspaper of the Communist Party, said in a front-page editorial.
“Let us clearly view managing environmental pollution with a sense of urgency.”
A thick smog shrouded the capital on the weekend, cutting visibility and sending many people out to buy face masks in a bid to protect themselves.